Toenail Fungus and Oregano Oil
What is toenail fungus?
Onychomycosis or toenail fungus is a fairly common condition that can be caused by a number of factors including trauma to the nail, poor hygiene and an abnormal skin pH level exacerbated by a weak immune system. Fungal infections commonly occur on the toenails and sometimes also on the fingernails because of their natural characteristics that enhance susceptibility to infection. Fungi thrive in dark and damp places such as underneath and around the nails. It also has a layer of protective covering that allows fungi to proliferate and reproduce.
Left untreated, toenail fungal infection is not just painful, but also very unsightly. Severe toenail fungi can cause yellowish or brownish discoloration, as well as thickening, brittleness, crumbled edges and even shedding.
How can I avoid contracting toenail fungus?
To avoid contracting toenail fungal infection, avoid warm, moist areas in public places like swimming pools, locker areas, spas and public showers. If you can’t completely avoid those places, take precautions like wearing slippers, sandals, swimming booties or water shoes to avoid direct contact between your feet and moist surfaces. In addition, do not forget to wash your feet thoroughly with antimicrobial soap after using public pools and hot tubs. You should also avoid sharing towels with other people, wear cotton socks and breathable shoes and make sure that your feet are completely dry before putting on socks.
If you frequently visit nail salons to have your nails cleaned and painted, make sure that the tools used are sterilized and if possible, just bring your own equipment to avoid cross infection. Do not pick on your toenails because every break in your skin barrier is a point of entry for microorganisms including fungi. Also keep your toenails clean and trimmed not to attract fungi.
How can I prevent the spread of toenail fungus?
If you’re already suffering from toenail fungus, do not share your towels and if possible, use a disposable wash cloth, a paper towel or toilet paper to dry the affected area. Do not paint your nails with nail polish because it only encourages the growth of fungi. It seals the nails and makes the area even more prone to fungal infection.
Keep your feet and toenails as clean as possible, paying attention to the area underneath the toe nails and avoid wearing socks and shoes that do not allow your feet breathe. Scatter antifungal powder on your shoes or sandals before putting them on especially if you won’t be wearing socks. If you’re feet perspire a lot or accidentally get your socks wet, it would be a good idea to take them off, allow your feet to dry completely and put on a new pair of clean and dry socks.
How can oregano oil relieve toenail fungus?
Oregano oil has a lot of healing properties that can help relieve toenail fungus. It contains carvacrol, which is also an antifungal. It is a natural and effective remedy to toenail fungus. Several studies have proven the potency of oregano oil against toenail fungus. The Department of Horticulture and National Food Safety and Toxicology Center at the Michigan State University studied and proved oregano oil’s active ingredient, carvacrol’s antifungal properties (Ramsewak, et al., 2003).
Furthermore, the Department of Plant Physiology at the Institute for Biological Research in Belgrade, Yugoslavia tested the antifungal properties of various essential oils including thyme, sage and oregano oil using 13 distinct fungal species and concluded that oregano oil displayed the highest and broadest antifungal activity (Sokovic, et al., 2002).
How to use oregano oil on toenail fungus?
While oregano oil is very effective against toenail fungus, it can cause irritation and inflammation of the skin. To prevent this from happening, combine 2 drops of oregano oil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil or almond oil to decrease its potency. Apply this oil blend to the affected area daily until the infected portion of the toenails have completely grown out, but not more than three weeks. You should also do an allergy test by swabbing some oregano oil to the inner aspect of your arm. If you don’t experience any redness, swelling or itchiness, you can go ahead and use it topically.
Oregano oil is an excellent adjunct to topical medications such as Lamisil, which is indicated for skin conditions such as toenail fungus. Just make sure that you’re using the highest quality of oregano oil with at least 80% carvacrol content and use as indicated and you could be completely free from toenail fungus in no time.
Ramsewak R.S., Nair M.G., Stommel M. and Selanders L. In vitro antagonistic activity of monoterpenes and their mixtures against ‘toe nail fungus’ pathogens. Phytotherapy Research. 2003; 17(4): 376-379.
Sokovic M., Tzakou O., Pitarokili D. and Couladis M. Antifungal activities of selected aromatic plants growing wild in Greece. Nahrung. 2002; 46(5): 317-320.